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No Bull Positional Review: Special Teams

Denver Broncos offseason positional review discussing what the team has based off of 2015 production of players on the team. We'll review stats, eye-test opinion, contract situation, and depth on the Denver Bronco team as we prepare for the start of free agency and the NFL draft.

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I'm breaking down our team to look at what we have in the cupboard for this offseason. In doing so, I've gathered a bunch of data from and to give us some stats to look at as we evaluate what our players did in the 2015 regular season. Also, contract info will be embedded when available. I'll add to that a synopsis of each player including their contract situation. Hopefully this helps Broncos Country here at MHR be better educated on the state of the team.

Brandon McManus

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Field Goals 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ PFF
B.McManus 0/ 0 12/ 12 8/ 8 5/ 8 5/ 7 3.4
Kickoffs Num Yds Avg Lg TB OB Ret RYds Pff
Brandon McManus 81 5,046 62.3 80 55 0 24 489 19.2
* Kickoff statistics from

First off, let's say that Brandon McManus is such a great investment in development by our front office and coaching staff over the past couple of years. The kid was brought in raw and shaky, but the team wisely kept him around and coached him up into one of the NFL's best kickers in 2015.

McManus adjusted his swing this off-season and it paid off big-time for us in our 2015 championship run. We don't make it to the Super Bowl with a little bit worse of a kicker. His field goal kicking was pretty darn impressive and his accuracy is what you expect from a good kicker in the NFL. He really showed a solid leg from long distance as well which is always an under-appreciated weapon to have in the arsenal.

His kickoffs were above average. I remember a few that we would have liked to have seen kicked a hair better, but in no way was it something I would count as a liability to the team. McManus has a big leg, and his kickoff stats reflect it with >65% of them being touchbacks.

Contract Info:

There's nothing mysterious here as far as a kicker contract goes. It is a cheap contract for a young kicker. McManus will be looking to get paid more this year and if he keeps improving his game, he's a candidate for the kind of contract our punter got a few years back.

Britton Colquitt

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Punting No Yds Avg Net TB In Lg B PFF
B.Colquitt 84 3663 43.6 39.7 4 22 62 0 7.2

Britton Colquitt is probably one of the few guys on the roster who you could point to as an underachiever in 2015 overall. I will point out his post-season punting was pretty darn solid though which is worth something.

His average distance is average though and probably my biggest complaint. He kicks at Denver and as such, his average should be a good tick higher than most other kickers because of that 8 game altitude advantage. His hang time also at times leaves something to be desired here as well. Because of this lackluster punts, he is the 5th worst punter from the NFL 2015 season in terms of overall average.

Contract Info:

Here's where my arm-chair GM soul weeps. The dude plays with a limp noodle for a leg and gets paid like he regularly punts it into the stands from the our 20. The Broncos talked him into a pay cut last year which was fine, but with the lack of improvement in 2015 in our punting game from the punter's perspective, you have to hope they bring in some new blood for competition.


Punt Return Stats

Punt Returns Ret FC Yds Avg Long TD PFF
E.Sanders 17 20 103 6.1 14 0 0.5
J.Norwood 6 2 51 8.5 14 0 1.5
O.Bolden 5 3 123 24.6 83t 1 1.0

Just for reflection, here are our punt returner's numbers. There's nothing to go crazy about here now that Bolden has jumped ship, but he was in a small sample size our most impressive returner.

Sanders in my mind is far too valuable to be returning punts. We need to get a new guy on the team to take these duties off his hands.

Norwood was in my opinion an average returner last year who didn't typically make mistakes (other than that big return in the Super Bowl which had the Panthers had more aware players, they would have decleated him and forced a turnover).

Kickoff Return Stats

Kickoff Returns No. Yds Avg Long TD PFF
O.Bolden 15 342 22.8 41 0 0.0
A.Caldwell 7 162 23.1 29 0 1.0
J.Norwood 2 29 14.5 15 0 0.0

The story on kickoff returns is even more boring and with the recent rule to move touchbacks to the 25, these numbers probably won't be more exciting in 2016 even if we do get a dynamic returner.

I noticed Caldwell in the regular season have some nice returns. His stats reflect that here, but he won't be an option for 2016.

Position Overview

We are definitely set at place-kicker in 2016. McManus is the golden boy down the gooch for the Broncos and any competition brought in will strictly be done in lip service.

Our punting seat should be pretty friggin warm for training camp in my mind. The team can save way too much money by finding a cheaper player even if that player is just average since that would be an upgrade to the play we saw in 2015 from Colquitt.

Our special teams coverage units are well coached. I, like many other fans would love to see the Broncos bring in a rookie who can return to let our vets focus on their jobs.